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PIC Controlled 32-LED Knightrider

A PIC processor simplifies the circuit and gives 12 different lighting patterns for the 32 LEDs. You can use it as a rear window break light as an eye catching display.

By John Clarke

Click for larger image
In the early 1980s there was a TV series called KnightRider. Its "star" was a rather clever car going by the fetching name 'Kit'.

Mind you, Kit was no ordinary car. It had powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal cars. Kit could talk, drive itself and supposedly see using a row of lights on the front which 'scanned' from side to side to simulate monitoring what was ahead.

While the KnightRider TV series has long since ceased, such scanning lights have continued appeal and we have published two different KnightRider light displays, one in November 1988 and the other in May 1996. Both of these used 16 LEDs and had a single fixed scanning display pattern.

But both of these were in the days before microcontrollers - or at least before microcontrollers were commonly used in projects.

Our latest version of KnightRider has twice as many LEDs, 32, and a number of different display patterns are available which are selected using a pushbutton switch. There are four scanning sequences, a chaser and a strobe.

If you mounted the display on your car's parcel shelf, you could also use it as a brake light.

  • 32 LEDs
  • 12 LED display patterns, including medleys
  • Adjestable pattern speed
  • Adjustable LED brightness
  • 12V operation

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